Overall I really like this. It's well-written, the voice is strong (and it definitely matches the voice in your query), and I want to read more. Most of the suggestions I've made here are stylistic. I've tried to explain why I would make them wherever I can, but much of the time it's just a feeling. Also, I tried to mark all the changes where I made them, but it was taking me too long, so for the most part I'm just putting in the changes!
Olivia Black glanced up from her Calculus test and caught the new guy cheating off her paper. No, wait. He wasn't scamming for answers; he was staring at her hand
,. His eyes were locked on the single black glove she wore and the pencil that hovered between her fingers, never quite touching them. The new guy had just discovered her ghost hand. [You don't have to tell us this...it becomes clear as the story unfolds]
Olivia slowly set her pencil down
,. Still staring, his eyes tracked her movements, still staring, so she wiggled her fingers at him in a cheesy little wave. Normally, that was enough to make people turn away and try not to notice her hand. But not this guy. Instead of looking away, he glanced up, straight into her eyes, with this way-too-intense gaze.
What was with him? Hadn't his parents taught him that staring was rude? So she'd been born with PSS of the right hand. Psyche Sans Soma was a rare birth defect, but most people had at least heard of it. There was tons of stuff about PSS on the internet, and Sixty Minutes had done a whole segment on it for Christ's sake. So what was this guy's problem?
Rumor had it he
was a fifth year senior, had transferred by his parents from a big city school to get him away from "bad influences." So Mmaybe it wasn't her ghost hand he was staring at. Maybe he had something against Goths. His parents had probably sent him away from the city precisely to escape black-haired, black-lipped, leather clad girls, and here he was stuck sitting next to the only one in a hundred mile radius. Anyway, the guy seriously needed to stop staring. It was starting to freak her out.
Olivia clenched her gloved hand into a fist and flipped him off. He raised his eyebrows and finally looked away, but she didn't miss the smirk that played across his lips as he did. He thought she was funny, did he? Whatever.
Olivia picked up her pencil and turned back to her test, but she couldn't concentrate. She read the next question four times and still had no idea what it said. She wasn't used to people staring at her.
No one in town gave her ghost hand a second thought anymore. She had lived in Greenvale, Illinois all seventeen years of her life. Dr. McAllister had delivered her and been the first to see her tiny right wrist stump with a mass of ethereal energy emanated from it where a flesh-and-blood hand should have been. For a little while, the media storm had overwhelmed Olivia's parents and the small town hospital, but it had blown over pretty quickly. Another PSS baby had been born somewhere on the East Coast, and life had returned to normal. When Olivia had started Kindergarten, she'd also started wearing a glove so her ghost hand wouldn't distract her classmates. Now, her glowing, bluish, see-through hand and the glove that covered it were [I feel like this is too much of an info dump, maybe work some of the details in elsewhere in smaller chunks] She had lived in Greenvale, Illinois all seventeen years of her life, and no one in town gave her ghost hand a second thought anymore. It was just a fixture of the town, like the Dairy Queen, or Lester the drunk, or the statue of Mayor Hogue in the middle of the square. They just were.
As for her being Goth, most folks in Greenvale had gotten used to that pretty quickly as well, though she still got the occasional joke about forgetting to take off her Halloween costume.
bBoy was working intently on the test now, his pencil scratching out answers the way Olivia's should have been. He didn't even have to take this test. It was his first day at Greenvale High so Mr. Giannopoulos had given him permission to opt out ,. But cCity bBoy [should be in caps since you're using it as his name]had said, "That's fine. I'll take it." Very studious of him. And annoying. Who takes a test when they don't have to?
What was his name anyway? She was terrible with names, but she thought it began with an M. Or maybe a J. He looked like a Johnny. He was dark skinned, not the tan kind but the kind that comes from your DNA. His short black hair was cut in a tousled, bad-boy style, with bangs hanging over his dark eyes. His mouth was kind of frowny. And he definitely had a nice body. But the most noticeable thing about him was his vibe. He just didn't have that indefinable quality [I feel like this breaks your voice a little; sounds too “adult” or formal] that marks someone as a high school student. He was too confident, too impervious [same for this, so maybe change], as if nothing around him really had any impact on him.
He glanced up, caught her appraising him, and smirked even wider than before. Olivia jerked her eyes away, feeling the blush rise to her face. What is black and white and red all over? A Goth caught scoping out the new guy. Why couldn't she just die now, and save herself a life of morbid embarrassment?
"Twenty minutes remaining," Mr. G droned from his desk, surveying the class over the top of his glasses before returning to the papers he was grading. Great! Just great! The test was twenty problems long, and she was still on number five.
If she flunked this class, her mom would go ballistic.[Don’t really need to say this, kind of a given]
The clock on the wall behind Mr. G ticked louder and louder. Olivia scribbled down an answer for question five. On question seven, her pencil tip snapped, and the tiny mouse turd of lead rolled down her desk and into her lap. She dug out another pencil from the coffin-shaped leather backpack at her feet. Her
ghost [you don’t need to keep calling it this; you differentiate it from her normal hand with the information that follows] hand felt warm, which was weird because PSS wasn't temperature sensitive. She had held her ghost hand over a candle flame and put it in a bucket of ice and never felt a thing.
"Ten minutes left," Mr. G said when she'd only just finished question eight.
Passion Wainwright, who sat in front of Olivia, got up from her desk and turned in her test. She was done? How in the world could anyone be that good at Calculus? Of course, Passion was one of the best students in the class. Passion was good at almost everything. She pretty much had to be; she was the local pastor's daughter.
Not only that, her parents had named her after The Passion of Christ, this Easter play her father's church did every year in which Passion always played the Virgin Mary. The part actually fit her pretty well. Don't need this, at least not here
She didn't really have any friends [not even church friends!?] Not even guys pursued her, despite the fact that she was blonde and beautiful. She wore turtle necks, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants, even when it was warm. She had a permanent parental waiver against changing for gym class because showing skin and wearing vintage nineties gym shorts was against her religion or something. Most days, Olivia just felt sorry for her. Except when Passion turned in her Calc test with ten minutes to spare.
"Focus," Olivia told herself, but the heat in her hand was bordering on painful.
She could always write with her other hand; she was ambidextrous. But if she switched, city boy might notice and think he'd made her self-conscious with all his staring. No way would she give him that satisfaction. Olivia gripped her pencil tighter in her hot little hand and soldiered on.[Again, I feel like this should go]
Passion came back, sat down, and pulled a Bible out of her backpack for a little light reading. Olivia flicked a glance at City Boy, but he wasn't in his seat. He was up at Mr. G's desk, turning in his test. She hadn't even heard him get up. She clutched her pencil and tried to answer question nine. She heard him sit back down and caught a whiff of his cologne or deodorant—the aroma of pine mixed with wood smoke. It was a very un-metropolitan smell. It made her think of campfires, which made her think of how much her hand felt like it was roasting over one.
I moved some stuff around in the following sections]She was half-way through the next problem when her numbers grew sloppy. Something was wrong with her hand. Her glove drooped, shimmering blue around the edges, and the pencil was dangling between its flaccid fingers.
Olivia shoved her hand under her desk, sending her pencil clattering to the floor. A pool of blue PSS energy, shapeless and pulsing, writhed around the stump of her wrist. The glove remained on her test like a deflated balloon. She snatched it with her normal hand and stuffed it in her lap. She glanced up, locking eyes with City Boy. She glared at him and shook her head, though she had no idea what she was telling him not to do.
Olivia gritted her teeth and tried to focus her PSS back into shape. If anything, it just got worse, expanding and losing even more definition. What the hell was wrong with her? This kind of thing hadn't happened since she was really little. [Cut the other stuff because it felt too much like telling]
The burning sensation was so intense [that what? Maybe: that it made her feel faint, and she squeezed her eyes shut. All around her she could hear the scrape and shuffle of students getting up and handing in their tests. She had to get out of there. But Mr. G would never excuse her this close to the end of the period, especially with an unfinished test. And she couldn't finish it with her hand freaking out. Maybe if she relaxed, things would go back to normal before anyone noticed.
As if in response to that thought, the pain in her hand suddenly eased off. She opened her eyes. City Boy was leaning over his desk, and for some reason he kept jerking his head toward Passion. God, what did he want? An introduction to Virgin Mary the hotty? If so, his timing was utter crap.
"Leave me alone," Olivia mouthed through clenched lips.
He shook his head and gave an exaggerated nod toward Passion again, rolling his eyes in her direction. This time, Olivia turned and looked. Passion was sitting stiffly, her torso slanted toward her desk at an odd angle, as if she had intended to lie across it but had been stopped midway. Her plain white turtle neck was crawling with faint bluish vines. One thick tendril went straight through the cotton material, impaling Passion right between her shoulder blades. And the tendril was the only thing holding her up—Passion herself was obviously unconscious.
Worse yet, all the blue vines were emanating from under the front of Olivia's desk. And they weren't vines. They were tendrils of PSS, Olivia's PSS, stretching out from her wrist and into the back of Passion Wainwright. And City Boy had seen it. He knew her hand was skewering Passion. Why didn't he jump up and scream and point at her? How could he just be sitting there so calmly?
What would happen if she just bolted, Olivia wondered? Would her PSS stretch between her and Passion like some horrible, incriminating rubber band? Maybe she could yank it, like a stuck Band-Aid or a loose tooth. But what would that do to her hand? And what would it do to Passion?
Olivia had no idea.
And before she could figure it out, the bell rang.